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How does law respond to experiences of mass atrocity and political transition? This question has animated conflicts throughout the world, from South Africa to the Democratic Republic of Congo, from Argentina to the Arab Spring of recent years. At the same time, the International Criminal Court has handed down its first judgment. This subject explores the legal institutions of criminal prosecution and truth commissions in post-conflict situations. Providing case studies of transitions and criminal responsibility, it provides in-depth knowledge of the various models of transitional justice, the paradigms of international criminal law, and role of human rights movements in addressing accountability, memory and justice, peace and social order. The lecturer is the Director of the International Criminal Justice program in the Institute for International Law and the Humanities.
This subject explores the practices of international criminal justice and transition, including criminal prosecution and truth commissions. It focuses on institutions and agencies of international criminal law in post-conflict situations, and in particular their representation and understanding of individual and collective trauma.
Principal topics will include:
- Understandings of responsibility and memory in law and trauma studies
- Legal responses to the destruction of European Jewry during World War II: Nuremberg, Eichmann and the aftermath of the Holocaust
- Models of transitional justice: Criminal justice, truth commissions and testimonial justice
- Institutions of transitional justice: Case studies, including Argentina and South Africa
- New international crimes: The emerging jurisprudence of the ad hoc criminal tribunals and the International Criminal Court (examples include rape and torture).
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject should:
- Understand the variety and complexities of international criminal justice and transition in post-conflict situations
- Appreciate the contribution of international criminal justice to the creation and maintenance of contemporary cultures of memory and law
- Understand the various meanings of trauma in international criminal justice
- Be able to evaluate the roles of criminal prosecution and truth commissions, including their possibilities for redress, reconciliation and transitional justice
- Understand the classification of crime within international criminal justice and the creation of new categories of crime to deal with unprecedented atrocities
- Obtain an in-depth appreciation of at least one case study of the legal aftermath of conflict and criminal injustice, and its implications for our understanding of responsibility, trauma and memory in international criminal law.
Last updated: 24 August 2023